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Dear Liz, how risqué can my Secret Santa gift be?

Dear Liz, how risqué can my Secret Santa gift be?
This year’s Secret Santa has just kicked off at my agency and I’ve drawn the CEO. I’m fairly new here so don’t really know her but everyone says she’s a real laugh. Listening to stories from colleagues it sounds like in previous years, people at the agency generally prefer ‘joke’ gifts, but what if she’s offended by what I get her and she finds out it was from me? How risqué do you think my gift can be?

The good news about Secret Santa is that he’s secret, right? But then we all play the guessing game of “who gave me the gift.”

If I were you I’d do some more research; do they have pets, favourite sweets, hatred of bath cubes and anything lavender. I’d speak to their PA, or anyone else who seems to know them well, along with finding out what their gift was last year so you don’t repeat it. I also would avoid pulling the paprika out of the cupboard from your recent trip abroad and wrapping that up in desperation. Can you track down last year’s lucky gift buyer for guidance? 

The culture sounds bold in its gift choices. As you are new I’d find out a bit more what risqué means and whether that does apply to everyone or may be a longstanding tradition for a few folk who know each other. 

I would seek out a friendly creative and get their point of view. In fact can they help you design something unique and personal?

The best Secret Santa gifts work well when they have some connection to the person and something they wouldn’t normally buy for themselves. One of my previous Santa hits was a Britney calendar (you know who are!) and a “grow yourself a toy boy” pack.

I assume there is a budget. I would stick to it and don’t feel that you have to supplement it. 

For sensible ideas, check out DodoBurd's article, Pinterest, Not on the High Street and Etsy. For bolder ones you can google risqué gifts for my boss! 

Good luck and I hope Santa is kind to you! Season’s Greetings everyone!

If you have an HR-related issue that you need answering by our expert Liz Nottingham, Agency HR Director, FIPA, please contact us at Any questions published will appear anonymously.

Last updated 16/11/2017

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